St. Michael Catholic

 / Grounds


Terry White, Tom Wilson / + VG Architects

St. Michael Catholic

“The addition makes more efficient use of the school site and we were able to reconfigure some of the other features like the playground to be able to expand the overall outdoor space available to students.”

– Doug Campbell, Controller of Plant and Planning, ALCDSB

Right-sizing results in increased play space and safety.

Terry White, Partner and  Tom Wilson, Associate Partner

There were significant challenges to this project. This was a very small and tight urban site; it’s under three acres, whereas, for a typical new elementary school, it would be at least five acres for school and playground. In addition, over time the playground area was chopped up and disorganized, making it less fun for the kids and more difficult for teachers to supervise. The third issue was that the site had no on-street parking or drop-off, which was a concern for the School Board as well as the city. Finally, St. Michael School presented itself in a historic format onto Church Street and it had a dedicated ceremonial lawn along the west side which wasn’t part of the formal play space.

The school had an existing playground onsite so our primary goal was to add to it, not relocate it. By tearing down the 1950s additions and right sizing the school building, we gained 30% additional play space for the students. Existing mature trees were preserved as much as possible. The kindergarten play area to the east side had a formalized and landscaped infrastructure which we updated. Our reorganization of the site returned a grassy sports field play area to the school, increased the play space for the students while improving safety.

“In the process of right-sizing the school, we were able to bring the parent drop off on to the site and alleviate some of the congestion from the surrounding city streets.” – Bryan Davies, Capital Projects Manager, ALCDSB

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